Sri Lanka parliament passes emergency regulations to seize food stocks, warehouses

Sri Lanka’s parliament has passed regulations that giving powers to a military official appointed as a commissioner general to seize food stocks, confiscate warehouses and vehicles used in their transport, following the invoking of an emergency.

Sri Lanka parliament on Monday (06) passed the emergency laws promulgated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on food supplies by 81 majority votes.

The emergency was passed convincingly with 132 legislators voting for it against 51 in the 225-member legislature where the government has a two-third majority.

Before the law was passed the 29,000 metric tonnes of sugar in several warehouses were seized. The regulations were issued by gazette and has to be passed by parliament before they end in 14 days.

The opposition argued that there was no necessity for emergency as provisions were already in several existing laws to impose price controls and find unregistered food stocks.

Government spokesmen have claimed that traders were ‘hoarding’ sugar and rice and there was no shortage in the country.

However price controls imposed by the Consumer Affairs Authority had led to shortages of milk powder and liquefied petroleum gas.

Some opposition legislators blamed the government’s economic policy including money printing for the current crisis.

However, the government said the existing provisions including Consumer Affairs Authority Act were not enough.

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